A potential replacement for Theresa May just lost the right to call himself a ‘patriot’

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Support us and go ad-free

One of the key arguments for Brexit was the £350m a week we send to the EU. Although that figure has been debunked, it’s clear what the implication was – that British money should stay in British hands.

As such, it’s surprising to discover that a prominent Brexiteer and potential future leader has been linked to offshore accounts. Albeit not that surprising given his track record.

Offshore

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s name appeared in the Paradise Papers because of a $680,000 (£520,000) payment he received when employed by an offshore investment firm. Documents reportedly show that Rees-Mogg owned 50,000+ shares in British Virgin Island-based Lloyd George Management. When the Bank of Montreal bought the firm in 2011, Rees-Mogg received the $680,000.

Rees-Mogg is not accused of doing anything illegal or evading tax. But his response to the issue has given an insight into his thoughts on tax avoidance. He claimed that offshore trusts are legitimate, as tax is paid on the money when it is returned to the UK. He also said that Labour MPs criticising tax avoidance:

are in the awful position of being both hypocritical and not very bright…

It is classic socialism, a case of do as I say and not as I do.

The problem is that people are not necessarily forced to bring their money back to the UK. Rees-Mogg further clarified his argument, saying:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The essential point is that honest taxpayers receive no benefit from offshore structures.

This comment will obviously come as a relief to anyone who thinks that the multi-millionaires who have hidden their wealth in labryinthine offshore tax avoidance schemes are “honest taxpayers”.

Voting record

Rees-Mogg has in the past voted against proposals to reduce both tax avoidance and evasion. Tax avoidance is using loopholes to dubiously, yet legally, avoid paying a fair share of tax. Tax evasion is using illegal means to do the same thing. Rees-Mogg has criticised the two being compared in the past. Speaking during a parliamentary debate, he said:

Doesn’t this question itself show the danger of alliding tax avoidance and tax evasion?

That there is no obligation on anybody to pay more tax than the law requires and even the most respectable families have schemes or arrangements to minimise death duties and things like that.

Whereas tax evasion is a very serious criminal offence which should be come down on with the full force of the law.

Obviously this creates a two-tier tax system. With one rule for people who can afford to have accountants managing their money, and another for everyone else.

Rees-Mogg has also voted against other measures which could have reduced tax avoidance.

‘Patriotic’

Rees-Mogg is not the only prominent Brexiteer who has been linked to tax avoidance. But none of the others recently topped a Conservative poll on who should be the next party leader.

Rees-Mogg may think that respectable people keep British money where the taxman can’t get it. It’s questionable whether the electorate will agree with him.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed